January 16th, 2021

Four Maids of Melody

By Submitted Article on May 27, 2020.

During the early 1940s Lethbridge residents were treated to a host of live music played by talented big-band musicians. Among the most popular were the Anderson Sisters, who kept dancers swinging through the years of the Second World War.

Growing up in the village of Monitor, Alberta, sisters Florence, Marie, Alice and Ruth Anderson were immersed in music from a young age. The “Four Maids of Melody” became skilled at multiple instruments. Bandleader Florence played the saxophone and piano. Marie played piano, and Alice played both saxophone and clarinet. The youngest sister, Ruth, could play the drums and trumpet at the same time!

During the Depression of the 1930s, the Anderson family moved to Lethbridge, where the sisters’ musical careers took off. Within days of arriving, the Anderson Sisters began a regular program of live shows on CJOC Radio, broadcast from the penthouse of the Marquis Hotel. Their father, Martin, became their manager and promoter, lining up frequent performances at the Trianon Ballroom in Lethbridge, local military bases, and the Waterton Lakes Dance Pavilion where they were the longest-running performers.

Humble and quiet by nature, the Anderson Sisters were passionate about their music and their stage presence. Every detail was meticulous, down to their matching uniforms and jewelry. Throughout the war they supported community events, promoted war savings bonds, and even taught others how to become musicians themselves.

In an interview with Galt staff, Ruth Hummel (daughter of band member Alice) recalled, “When it came to music, it was a gift they passed onÉ it was something they felt really privileged to be able to contribute to their own communities.”

You can learn more about the music of the home front at http://www.galtmuseum.com.

Your old photos, documents, and artifacts might have historical value. Please contact Galt Museum & Archives for advice before destroying them.

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